News

What full-circle ringing bells look like

A while ago I was trying to find pictures or video of bells being rung with the cameras on the bells themselves to help explain what actually goes on.

I was looking for another picture in my archives and discovered a few I took in 2011 when we arranged a belfry maintenance course. The following pictures were taken at Rostherne tower in Cheshire, which are a rustic 6-bell installation, all wooden headstocks, plain bearings and about as traditional as you’re going to get.

As explained elsewhere, in the UK the bells are rung full-circle. The pictures below are all shown with the bells in the ‘down’ position with the mouth of the bell pointing towards the ground. when the bells are rung-up, imagine the bell at 180 degrees from the position in the picture, with the bell upturned and the wooden stay pointing down and resting on a slider on the frame to keep it in position. ¬†When in the up-position the bells are dangerous which is why all work is done on them when they’re in the safe down-position.

This is one of the six bells. You can see the wheel to the left which the rope travels around (and down to the ringer below), the wooden stay on the right poking up and the bell bolted to the wooden headstock.

A bell attached to a wooden headstock with traditional stay
A bell attached to a wooden headstock with traditional stay

Rostherne was used in the training for two reasons. Firstly as already mentioned it’s a very rustic installation compared to some of the modern arrangements in other towers, so it’s of interest from that end. Secondly, there’s plenty of room to move around the tower and walk on the frame, something you simply cannot do at Norbury!

A group we were training on belfry maintenance
A group we were training on belfry maintenance

No practice this week

No ringing practice 18 Feb

Just so you’re aware, due to it being half-term a lot of the band have commitments away from the tower during the week and that’s left us short for the practice on Thursday.

Therefore there will be no Thursday night practice this week which is the 18 February 2016.

Normal service ringing on the following Sunday and business as usual for the practice on 25 February.

Hope to see you there!

What does bell ringing actually look like?

It is always interesting speaking to non-ringers who take an interest in our art/pastime and realising that something we take for granted is actually little known and that many people have no idea what goes on in the ringing room whilst the bells can be heard outside.

This is some footage taken in Liverpool by the Birmingham 12-bell competition band and shows off what is going on and how wonderful it’s sounding as well.

I’m on the look out for some footage which shows the movement of the bells as a split-screen with the ringers so you can see how it all fits together. The footage taken at Christchurch Victoria below gives you a bit of an idea.

Unfortunately we don’t have the space at Norbury to rig up some cameras as the bells would get in the way of each other on the film.

Merry Christmas from the band

Last Sunday, and after the morning service ringing we decamped for mince-pies, Christmas cake and mulled wine.

Some referred to this as ‘breakfast’ although it was a snack for most!

We turned out to ring for the annual Norbury Christmas Carol Concert in the evening and rang a quarter peal:

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1280 Yorkshire Surprise Major

Treble: Joyce Gardner
2: Rebecca Glen
3: Simeon W Farrington-Newman
4: Clive R Calton
5: Angela Gardner
6: Alan McFall
7: Geoffrey R Gardner (C)
Tenor: Andrew C D Mayes

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There will be no ringing on Thursday evening being Christmas Eve, however we will ring for the Christmas Day service at 9.45 on Friday morning.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday 17 December

Just so you’re aware there will be no ringing on Thursday 17 December as the band are having their Christmas social instead.

We will be ringing as normal on Sunday 20th at 9.45am and also on Friday 25th December at 9.45am for the Christmas Day service.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Norbury Church Bellringers

Cometh the Autumn

Well it doesn’t seem that long since the summer, yet next weekend the clocks go back one hour and the nights will continue to draw in. It’s definitely Autumn now.

It has been a while since I posted any news on here so I thought it was time for an update.

The band has been steady throughout the year, with another two learners having reached a high enough standard to be able to ring for services and weddings. As these are our regular ‘public performances’ it is important that the ringing is good.

Three of the band were away in Northampton on a bell ringing trip last weekend where five 10-bell quarter peals were rung. The other 7 ringers were from the Greater Manchester area, or just a little bit further (e.g. Bristol!).

Practice nights tend to be a jolly affair, with a lot of ringing, and more laughing and chatting. It is also around the time when we start to make plans for the ringing around Christmas, as well as the all-important Christmas curry!

If you are interested in what we do or would like to have a go, you are more than welcome to do so. The best thing to do is to send a message from the ‘contact’ page so we can make sure we know to expect you. We practice on Thursday evening 8pm-9.30pm and ring on Sunday mornings at 9.45-10.15am.

June already?

Well I must admit that 2015 has been rattling through but having realised the last update on the page was in 2014 it has galvanised me into action.

Ringing at Norbury is going pretty well at the moment with a small number of learners all getting to grips with the art of change-ringing. The band itself is a wide mixture of abilities going from the early stages of learning all the way through to seasoned peal ringers.

We pride ourselves on being a warm and welcoming tower. As such if you are a ringer visiting from elsewhere, or perhaps you learned in the past and would like to take up the hobby again, or even if you’ve heard the bells and wondered what it’s like to ring a church bell, all are welcome.

Our practice night is Thursday, we meet at 8pm and the practice goes through until about 9.30pm. We normally ring for Sunday service at 9.45am (the service starts at 10.15am) and welcome visiting ringers to join us.

Come along and see what it’s all about!

Some firsts

I have been a little remiss recently in my updates on the website.

In particular we have had a couple of ‘firsts’ in 2014 with both of our most recent team members¬†both scoring their first Quarter Peals. All the details are, unsurprisingly, on the ‘Quarter Peals‘ page and on Campanophile/Bellboard on the internet.

Do you fancy a new hobby? Why not come and visit us and find out what bell ringing is all about. We meet Thursday evenings at 8pm for our practice night. Just drop a line through the ‘contacts‘ page so we know to watch out for you.

A history of our bells

As part of a project for the Church, our very own Peter Broadbent has prepared a short history about the bells at St Thomas’ church, Norbury taking his details from a number of historic records about the bells.

This has been added to the site – visit the page ‘The Bells at Norbury’ for more details. Many thanks for Peter for allowing his history to be used on the website.